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View Full Version : What a Great Room Can Add to a Recording!



BradKlein
Apr-14-2018, 11:01pm
I can't take credit for this video production, and there's no mandolin here, but these are all folks that I've worked with, and I contributed a few microphones to the effort. I place it here in the gospel section, for obvious reasons, but my main goal was to point out the natural ambiance in the room.

It's the upper hall of one of the oldest churches in Brooklyn - and I've supported the renovation of their main (larger, stone...) worship space in the past. But this hall with it's wood floors, plaster walls and peaked and raftered roof has a wonderful ambiance that adds a lot to a recording. The room mics are a pair of spaced omnis, and as far as I know, there is no artificial reverb on this recording at all. If you have a setup that you can switch between mono and stereo, you'll really hear what those omnis add.

Plus, some great players, including Kenny Kosek on fiddle, and songwriter Jen Larson. They debuted the song at the bluegrass Good Friday service this year, and recorded it after.



https://youtu.be/hvy2kZxyD7U

Bertram Henze
Apr-15-2018, 1:40am
A special revelation are those brief moments with background vocals, to my ear.

Mandoplumb
Apr-15-2018, 8:21am
All reverb used to be added naturally, like so many things we think electronics and computers have improved many things because we have become so accustomed to artificial and digital.

BradKlein
Apr-15-2018, 8:42am
All reverb used to be added naturally, like so many things we think electronics and computers have improved many things because we have become so accustomed to artificial and digital.

I suppose that's true, especially if you consider the time before recording. But adding reverb, has been common studio practice for ALMOST as long as multitrack recording (I think) both in use since the 1950s with reverb chambers, plates, springs. But I guess 'room mics' are the most 'natural' way of adding controlled amounts. It's not hard to find a space with a lot of echo - any cathedral will do. ;-)

But I think it IS kind of hard to find a room (at least in NYC) that has enough spaciousness without sounding like a cathedral, and without intrusive resonances. It's one thing if you're recording pipe organ or chorale music that cries out for a 'big church interior' sound, but that's just too much delay for most acoustic music. At least that's my way of thinking.

Don Grieser
Apr-15-2018, 9:47am
That recording has a great ambiance to it. I don't see room mics in the long shot of the whole church. Any idea where they were placed?

BradKlein
Apr-15-2018, 11:46am
That recording has a great ambiance to it. I don't see room mics in the long shot of the whole church. Any idea where they were placed?

If you look at the opening titles, they are above the f in 'of' and the capitol G, middle of the gothic windows. Centered and above the heads of the musicians, but on the loft where they are performing.

Don Grieser
Apr-15-2018, 1:47pm
Missed that. That placement akes sense. If those omnis were further away in that giant room, they'd only have reverb in them and be unusable. It'd be interesting to hear just the omnis.

Mandoplumb
Apr-15-2018, 4:04pm
I suppose that's true, especially if you consider the time before recording. But adding reverb, has been common studio practice for ALMOST as long as multitrack recording (I think) both in use since the 1950s with reverb chambers, plates, springs. But I guess 'room mics' are the most 'natural' way of adding controlled amounts. It's not hard to find a space with a lot of echo - any cathedral will do. ;-)But I think it IS kind of hard to find a room (at least in NYC) that has enough spaciousness without sounding like a cathedral, and without intrusive resonances. It's one thing if you're recording pipe organ or chorale music that cries out for a 'big church interior' sound, but that's just too much delay for most acoustic music. At least that's my way of thinking.

Look on most reverb units you'll see such things as large hall, small hall, plates etc. Those are so named because that was how reverb was added originally. Sound was projected down a hall, or against a steel plate and recorded. Springs came later and in my opinion was the direct forerunner of synthetic reverb.